0 In North America/ Pacific Crest Trail/ Washington (USA)

PCT 2018 Days 145-157

Day 145

Miles: 26.5

Health: Sore af

Currently reading: No reading today

Today turned from crappy to horrible to wonderful. This was a roller coaster in every sense of the word.

I woke up at 4am, freezing. I laid there for an hour or so and then decided just to get up. I left camp a bit after 6am and began my hike.

Today I was hiking through the Goat Rocks Wilderness which is known to be one of he most beautiful days on the whole PCT, but also most difficult. Beauty always comes at a price on the PCT.

It was utterly breathtaking. I had to stop for so many pictures I thought my camera battery would die. At one point you could see Mt Adams, Mt Saint Helens, and Mt Rainier all in the same spot. I also loved walking on the famed “Knife’s edge” which is a sheer drop on both sides of the trail. There were also some spots where we had to hike over snow, it felt eerily like the High Sierras.

Hen was having some major knee problems and had to take the day very slowly. She ultimately decided that she needed to take a few days off trail and go see a doctor.

There was a fire detour that was mandatory to PCT hikers which turned out to be super difficult. Here’s where the beauty comes at a price. I think I would have rather watched someone take a dump for five hours rather than be forced to do that detour again. It was super steep both uphill and down and very overgrown. We also had no way of knowing how much further we had since we didn’t have a map of the trail. At one point there was a stream crossing and I was just so utterly frustrated that I just trampled through the water without a care. May as well feel 100% like the Sierras.

The detour ended with a four mile road walk which I had planned to do but once I finally made it to the road it seemed dangerous and unwise to attempt the road walk. There was little to no shoulder to walk on and the cars were wizzing by at a crazy rate. I hitched into the White Pass Kracker Barrel with Wipeout and Trail Quail. We made it just in time to pick up our boxes and eat a little something.

The temperature began to drop at a ridiculous rate and I feared I was in for another night like at Timberline. Just as I was feeling down, Captain said he was going to go check out the lodge next door. I said I would go with him because I was feeling weak and may or may not splurge on a room. As we walked to the office he said, “So if I get a room for you will you share it with Wipeout and Quail?” “Uh, yes, of course.” I replied, not quite sure what he meant by that.

What he meant was that he paid for us to all stay in a room while he and his hiking partner also got a room nearby. What?! Talk about generosity!! Talk about a major blessing! I’m still in awe.

To say Wipeout and Quail were equally ecstatic would be an understatement. We went into our little condo complete with kitchen, bunk beds, and fold out couch and collapsed with happiness. We took showers and did laundry and then went over to Captain & LOL’s room for some lasagna and wine and laughs.

That night we girls organized our food and made our own hiker box full of the food we didn’t need. I fell asleep so thankful for the beautiful turn this day made.

Day 146

Miles: 26.3

Health: Ankles feel a bit weak and sore

Currently reading: As You Wish

I woke up at 6:30 and packed up my things. I got a hot chocolate and muffin at the Kracker Barrel before heading out just after 8:00am. It’s weird not having Hen with me.

I passed the 2300 mile marker and noticed that the hundred mile markers aren’t as exciting as they used to be. I remember how huge it was when I passed 100 or 500 miles. I thought that was such a huge accomplishment. But now I’ve walked over 2300 miles and all I felt was “meh”. Haha!

As much as I love having Hen around I also enjoy hiking solo as well. I find I go faster and make more miles, at least until I burn out in the late afternoon. I was going so fast, passing everyone and flying up the elevation.

At one point I was up on a ridge and I looked down randomly to the valley about 40ft below and my eyes miraculously found a bear! Bear #3 was busy eating so I was able to snap some photos and get video of him. A fellow hiker made to much noise and it ran off but it was still a great moment.

I camped by Dewey Lake and met some weekend campers with a beautiful black lab. The woman was super impressed with the PCT and made me feel so strong. I feel like I’ve finally hit a point that I’m really proud of myself and what I’ve been able to accomplish on this trek. It’s only taken 2,000 miles.

I also got to hear and elk’s mating call as I fell asleep. That may sound like a weird thing to care about but I really wanted to hear that since before I started the trail.

Day 147

Miles: 31

Health: Sore, but good

Currently reading: As You Wish & Quiet

I woke up to the cold. I quickly broke down my tent and left by 7:00ish. I planned to leave earlier but didn’t sleep well so I had turned my alarm off and decided to just get moving whenever I happened to get up.

A few miles in a stopped at a parking lot inside the National Park to use a pit toilet and empty trash. It’s the little things.

The whole day I had amazing views of Mt Rainier. Man, she is a biggie. If she decided to explode one day I think we’d all be doomed. The smoke has been steadily getting worse but seems to be ok in the mornings.

There were so many elk footprints on the trail but I have yet to see one myself. I love seeing all the animal footprints on the path, it makes sense but makes me giggle all the same that deer, bears, lions etc use the PCT too.

I kept to myself mostly today, an introvert’s gotta recharge. I did see two hikers that I lost track of a while back so it’s nice to know we’re al keeping pace.

I knocked out 31 miles which was tough but totally manageable. Everyone’s been saying how it’s considered a good day to get 25 at this point on trail. Boom.

Day 148

Miles: 30

Health: It’s all good, yo.

Currently reading: Quite

Last night was actually warm! Wow! What a magical sensation! I even woke up relatively warm.

That was a great start to my day but it was about to begin with a bang. I was the first one out of camp and clearly first on the trail due to all the spider webs my face crashed into. I was rounding the bend when all of a sudden to my left I heard a large noise and saw a smallish bear running away. Clearly it was enjoying a berry bush for breakfast and didn’t hear me coming until I was on top of him. That’s bear #4!

The rest of the day was mostly me just busting ass trying to make it another 30 miles. This terrain is challenging and I got more than one “wow!” when I told people I was doing 30s.

I had signal briefly and was able to text my mum and Hen. Seems she’s doing well and will be back on trail tomorrow. I heard from Crumbs, who is a bit behind me, letting me know he heard elk last night.

I ran into another hiker who I haven’t seen since Mammoth and he even remembered my name! Can’t say the same for me, though. It was nice to see him and swap a few stories/plans for the final days.

I had my sights set on a campsite and so on my last break when I heard two other hikers discussing it as well I made a mad dash to get there first. Well, they never showed up, so I am alone tonight. That’s cool.

As I lay here in my tent, totally alone, I kid you not, I can hear a coyote, a wolf, and an elk all making their perspective calls into the wild night. This is a night I shall not soon forget and one that makes me truly appreciate this adventure as it comes to a close.

Day 149

Miles: 11

Health: Super tired

Currently reading: Quiet

I left camp before 7am and began a tough 11 mile hike into Snoqualmie Pass. It was a lot of steep uphill and no animals of note were spotted.

I made it to the town and got a room at the Summit Inn. This shall be my last hotel/shower/laundry of the trail. It’s time to push full force to Canada.

I got lunch at The Aardvark food truck, a popular choice for hikers, and then Hen arrived. I did all the usual tasks of showering and laundry and picked up my resupply box. We got dinner at the only food joint in town, The Commonwealth.

I went to bed early and it was lovely.

Day 150

Miles: 21.6

Health: My left arch is a bit tender

Currently reading: Quite

I didn’t sleep great even though I was in a bed. I think I’m a bit stressed and my body is just over life itself. I got up at 6am and started packing up. We got breakfast at 7am and Crumbs joined us.

We left Snoqualmie a bit after 8am and immediately had a five mile climb. Hen was unsure how her knee would do so she had me take the lead. I thought for sure she’d be no more than ten minutes behind me so I kind of took off. I have the most energy in the morning and like to take full advantage of that. I went about 7.5 miles before my first break and unfortunately she never really caught back up.

Today was a challenge because there was a whole lot of lose rock to hike over. This tends to be very hard of the feet and is very slow going. It was also very cold and windy and I was consistently in a cloud. Also, there were tons and tons of day and weekend hikers and trail runners which also slow the pace down a lot.

The sun only started to come out around 2pm just as I hit the major downhill section. The day suddenly took a turn for the better as it warmed up and blue skies poked through the dense cloud cover a bit. I was also surrounded by thousands of wildflowers and unique mountain peaks. It was a moment filled to the brim of God’s glory.

I set my sights on a camp site and after crossing a stream and then getting lost in the woods, I made it. As I set up camp, Tornado, who is now going southbound to finish his hike, walked by. It was great to see a friendly face and we had a nice chat before he pushed on towards Oregon. Hen hasn’t shown up to camp but I’m sure she’s fine. She’s a big girl and we’ll find each other tomorrow, I hope. Currently, I think there’s a critter of some kind snooping around my tent. Dang it.

Day 151 – 152

Miles: 30 & 20

Health: Fine

Currently reading: Quiet

Well, Hen never caught up to me so I pushed on knowing I had to make it to Steven’s Pass by 5:00pm to pickup my box. I wanted to see how difficult it would be to pull a 30 mile day even in this notoriously challenging section. Today’s weather was beautiful and sunny and clear. The views were amazing.

The terrain is challenging but nothing to crazy. I saw lots of chipmunks and pikas.

I set up camp alone and heard the rain begin around 1:00am. Apparently my tent is not waterproof anymore as I awoke to everything being drenched.

I had 20 miles to do to get to the lodge and I pushed on with little to no breaks. I arrived at 2:30 only to find that my box had not arrived yet.

Hen and Crumbs arrived at the lodge just before 6:00pm and we all decided to go into Leavenworth. Turns out, my box won’t arrive in time for me to get it so I need to resupply in town instead.

We went to a Mongolian grill for dinner and Cold Stone for dessert. We are aiming to reach Canada on the 20th which is two days later than I had hoped, but what are you gonna do?

Day 153

Miles: 10

Health: This cold is not doing wonders on my mental health

Currently reading: No reading today

Oh, last night was so warm. We stayed at a rather dingy hotel that could easily have given us bed bugs but it was just so warm! All of our gear dried out which was great and we took full advantage of the free breakfast.

We then went to Safeway to resupply. This was a resupply I wasn’t counting on so that was a bummer. I found everything I needed, though.

After we left the hotel we had lunch at Good Mood Food and we each ended up getting two full lunches. Hiker hunger takes no prisoners.

We got the bus back up to Steven’s Pass, but before that, Hen had a bad fall and gave herself a black eye and ripped her leggings. She was ok but a bit shook up.

Up at Steven’s, Hen got some ice for her eye and I found a raincoat that would work better than my current Frogg Toggs jacket. It’s probably going to rain all day and night for the duration of the hike, so I needed something that would actually keep me dry. Both Hen and I ended up gettin one and for once I didn’t have to get something in the color pink. I love that it’s simple and black. Crumbs says that Ive morphed into a ninja in my all black ensemble.

We left the lodge as the rain came and went. We only did 10 miles today to get back on the trail. It’s cold. It’s wet. I’m ready for Canada.

Day 154

Miles: 26.3

Health: I’m so cold I can barely function

Currently reading: Just podcasts today

I awoke to a wet tent and cold weather. I know I only have like 9 more days but it just seems like an eternity.

I left by 6:30ish and much of the day was just rainy hiking. It’s amazingly frustrating how around every corner the weather can be utterly different. You can be enjoying some sun and the next moment you’re getting rained on and then five minutes later the wind is blowing you off the mountain. Also, Washington has to many clouds. Clouds are dumb. The South doesn’t have this many clouds.

At one point today I was hiking along, I hadn’t seen a soul in a few hours, when my trekking pole caught on a stick growing from the ground. The stick swung back and slapped me hard in the butt. It hurt so bad I couldn’t hold in my frustration any longer and I just let a series of choice expletive fly in the direction of this stick. I also grabbed at it to try and yank it from the ground and throw it off the mountain but to no avail. I finished my rant off by pointing at the stick and yelling, “YOU SUCK!” That’s when I noticed a south bound hiker merely five feet from me witnessing me yell at a plant. Not my finest moment.

We passed the 2500 mile marker and are camped above 5000ft and in a cloud. It is truly freezing. September 20th please get here fast!

Day 155

Miles: 24

Health: Have I mentioned how bloody cold it is?

Currently reading: Quiet

Oh today. Today was a day.

We woke up to a cloud parked right on our campsite which meant wet gear and freezing temperatures. I could only pray that we would get a bit of sun to dry out our stuff.

The day’s hike began with a crazy uphill. I had a hard time all day garnering energy which meant oodles and oodles of fun for me. It consistently rained all day long whether we were up on top of a mountain or down in a valley. We were never able to dry our gear.

The area we are currently hiking through is quite the challenge because there are tons and tons and tons of downed trees which makes for difficult and slow going. Also, since it’s been raining so much lately the ground is pure mud. Mud is slick as ice I have found out. I took a fall and Hen took a few.

One shining moment came when we walked past a hole next to trail only to find two bold marmots living in it. They bopped in and out so we could take pictures and ooh and ahh at the proper times.

One section of trail was also literally washed away and we had to find another way down. Hopefully no one was standing there when that happened.

I’m not gonna lie, the trail is 0% fun right now. I’m freezing at all times and my clothing and gear are soaked. My hands don’t work half the time because they are that cold. The views are nonexistent because of the clouds and rain and the trail itself is just a mess. Hen has gotten even more hurt so I know she’s having a rough time too. People have been telling me to appreciate the end and not to rush. They tell me I’m gonna miss it so much.

Here’s the thing, most people complete the trail in around 130 days and take around 20 zeros. I’m on day 155 and have taken about 10 zeros. I’ve been out on this blooming trail for around 145 days and, dang it, I’m ready to get to Canada and get home! I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’ve gotten out of it what I wanted and I’m not enjoying it much anymore and I think that’s ok! I don’t have to want to live out on the trail for the rest of my days to prove that the hike was worthwhile. It’s been fun but I’m ready to be done.

Day 156

Miles: 24

Health: Toenail drama.

Currently reading: Quiet

Today was a better day than yesterday. It actually didn’t rain last night so not only was my tent not wet but it kinda dried over night.

However, it was still very cold, and having to put on all damp and wet clothing is one of the worst things to ever happen to a human.

We had a lot of climbing to do today but thankfully it was all graded quite well and none of it was to hard. There were a lot of downed trees again today but less mud. It rained off and on all day but was equally sunny at points too.

The views were quite breathtaking and made all these challenges worth it. I’m still ready to be back in the South, though.

I had much better energy today and knocked out some big miles in a short amount of time. If it weren’t for Hen’s injuries I think I could be busting out 30s, but it’s not meant to be.

Day 157

Miles: Unsure but maybe 25?

Health: My toe is worse

Currently reading: Quiet & Born a Crime

Today showed so much promise, weather wise. Yes, my gear was wet when I awoke, but there weren’t many clouds in the sky and I was hoping for a sunny day.

We wanted to get to Holden Village for lunch which was only served from 12:00-12:45. We had to get 13 miles on a fire detour by that time. I should realize by now that a fire detour means I’m in for a heck of a difficult day. As angry as I can get at the PCT at least the trail is normally well kept up. That’s not so on these detours.

We made it to Holden Village, a retreat lodge with a cult like feel to it, at 11:50. The lunch was $10 and was magically all vegetarian. They had us all recite a prayer from a prayer card at the table filled with prayers from 14 different religions. Today was Jewish day, apparently. I ate way to much and regretted that immediately after I began hiking again.

The hike out of Holden was about 7 miles of severe uphill. It was hard as hell and my only saving grace was seeing the biggest marmot ever. Seriously, this thing was bigger than a corgi.

Once I made it to the top it started to snow. I hate snow. I hate cold. I hate wind. I hate rain. I hate it allllll!!!! How do people live in these conditions?!

Thankfully it was all downhill from there, but man was I pooped. We went about another five miles and set up camp by a river. It’s gonna be a cold night but hopefully we’ll be able to get a room in Stehekin tomorrow night.

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